#64 - Balance
Musk, filling the void, and be careful
Balance is a funny one. Should one aim for a balanced life?
It depends what you’re optimising for.
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Elon Musk is remarkable. Love him or hate him there’s no denying he makes things happen.
I truly believe he’s doing it for all the right reasons. To him electric vehicles and escaping earth are necessary for humanity’s survival. He’s obsessed with the survival of the species.
But there’s a cost. He’s described entrepreneurship as chewing glass and staring into the abyss. He’s been through four divorces. He's had bad patches. In 2008 his wife reported he’d wake up screaming in the middle of the night. Not ideal. Elon’s not one for balance.
Filling the Void
There’s a similar pattern if amongst most of the “once in lifetime” successes. See Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods for example. Both obsessed. And it cost them elsewhere.
Was it worth it? To them it probably was. Success meant everything. They needed to be the best. You can’t help but wonder what void they’re trying to fill…
Elon's focused on the survival of the species. But is he also making up for a difficult childhood? Scars from childhood run deep. From bullying to a rocky relationship with his father, Elon’s childhood isn’t short of clues. It’s not a difficult jump to conclude he’s might be after recognition and acceptance previously denied.
It’s down to each of us where we find meaning in life. There’s no right answer. But usually it comes back to happiness. That’s what we’re after.
The obsessed entrepreneur is seeking recognition. They feel they have something to prove. I’m not sure I can rule myself out of that category completely. I’m generally content. But, let’s be honest, there’s a reason I didn’t stay with the monks.
I haven’t quite figured out where I sit on this topic. On one hand happiness comes from contentment. From not wanting.
On the other hand… Isn’t it overcoming the hardships that make it worth living?
I’m glad the world has Elons. Humanity is better for his obsession. But there’s certainly a case for a more balanced life. It’s down to each of us. Get clear on what you’re optimising for.
Either way, be careful what you wish for. You might just get it.
My Week in Books📚
The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck
On psychology, spirituality, and how they related. A unique perspective and profound in places. Excellent food for thought.
Thank you Matteo Tittarelli for the gift. 🙏
What Else? 🌴
I’m offline and out of the country this week, visiting Hector Alexander in Kenya.
Doing my best at finding some balance… Or something like that.
I suspect you won’t need to get hold of me, but if you do I’ll be back on the 23rd.
Rest assured: Next week’s post is written and scheduled. 🙏
A Final Thought 💡
There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.
– Alain de Botton